Sunday 11 September 2022

TLFG: 12-18 September 2022

Well, well, well - a lot has changed since I last wrote.

On Thursday afternoon, I was looking forward to a Saturday where my daughter would be making her debut at U10 level in a new leadership role which she was sharing with a couple of other girls.

They were going to be playing at a new home ground too but it never happened.

As we all know, the Queen died later that afternoon and on Friday it was decided to postpone all football from the Premier League down to kids matches.

With other sports not following suit, the FA has received quite a bit of criticism for this blanket suspension of our sport.

Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday

It was very disappointing for my daughter and more so because my work commitments mean she almost certainly won't get another opportunity to play until next month.

I don't know how you feel about the situation but on reflection, the FA probably couldn't win either way and would have put someone's nose out of joint somewhere.

It is a huge moment for the people of this country and I actually got a bit misty eyed when I saw a clip of the Queen enjoying a win on the horses at Ascot one year - you actually got to see her really enjoying herself and showing some emotion, a rare sight.

I never met her - I think the closest I got was watching her drive past me in Dublin during her historic visit to Ireland in 2011.

My only brush with royalty was a quick handshake and chat with Princess Anne in 1995 when I met her at a university function.

Have you had a royal encounter?

With the funeral now set for Monday 19 September, there is still some doubt over whether next weekend's bigger fixtures will take place as the policing resource might not be available but we should find out over the next couple of days.

I've written this piece at work so it's a bit more rushed than I'd have liked so apologies if it's not up to scratch.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Robert S from Oslo, Norway who donated to TLFG's coffee drinking fund - much appreciated.


The highlights of the next few days include games in the Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, EFL, FA Cup, FA Women's Super League, Women's FA Cup and many other games in our local non-league and women's competitions.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top.

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin

Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin

In the following section, I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Monday 12 September

Isthmian League Premier
Aveley v Potters Bar Town @745pm - the week begins with a clash of the top two in the Isthmian League. Both sides have won four of their first five league games but crucially they met in the FA Cup last week and PBT came out on top


Tuesday 13 September

League One
Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers @745pm - the Addicks have continued the inconsistent form they showed for much of last season and are 12th after seven games. FGR finally made it up from League Two but have only managed two wins and are in the bottom four. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Northampton Town @745pm - the Dons have also had an unspectacular start to life back in the fourth tier and face a tough evening against the Cobblers who are up in fifth. Tickets

National League
Barnet v Dorking Wanderers @745pm - with two defeats from their last three, the Bees have slipped to seventh. The visitors have lost even more form and are getting worryingly close to the relegation zone
Boreham Wood v Maidenhead United @745pm - the Wood are currently London's top-ranked club in this division and are just three points off top spot. Maidenhead ended a three game losing streak by drawing with FC Halifax Town

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Hemel Hempstead Town @745pm - there's an early season relegation six-pointer at Champion Hill where two clubs in the bottom four fight it out for a crucial three points

Southern League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Hendon @745pm - it's a similar story at the Rogers Family Stadium but in this case it's a derby too MATCH OFF

FA Trophy First Round Qualifying
Beckenham Town v Heybridge Swifts @745pm - after seeing Saturday's opening round postponed following the death of the Queen, the action has all been shifted to midweek instead - a period that had been initially reserved for replays. For me, this is the tie of the round as it pits two of the best teams in the eighth tier against each other. Beckenham are two points clear at the top in the Isthmian South East whilst Heybridge are one of three clubs sharing the lead in the North

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Enfield @745pm - two of the top four meet at Oakside for what could ultimately be an important match in the title race. The Motormen are currently second but have the games in hand to go top whereas Enfield have played even fewer games but won them all and look impressive. They're also still in the FA Cup so might have an eye on that as they prepare to host Billericay on Saturday

SCEFL Premier
Stansfeld v Rusthall @745pm - Erith & Belvedere are currently top and are also in action on Tuesday but this match between two of the top four looks marginally more interesting. Stansfeld are new to this level but have made a fine start and are second


Wednesday 14 September

UEFA Champions League
Chelsea v RB Salzburg @8pm - new boss Graham Potter takes charge of his first Blues game on Wednesday night and it's in the Champions League. Defeat to Dinamo Zagreb last week cost former manager Thomas Tuchel his job so Chelsea have some ground to make up. Although only playing in the Austrian league, Salzburg are top and unbeaten and also drew with AC Milan in their Champions League opener

Millwall v QPR @745pm - tickets for Chelsea will be hard to get but there are still some available for this usually combative derby. Only a point separates them in the table and it should be close again. Tickets

FA Trophy First Qualifying Round
Hadley v Sevenoaks Town @745pm - the best non-league option of the night is this cup tie at Brickfield Lane. Hadley are new to the eighth tier and they're struggling, this could well be tough for them

Thursday 8 September

UEFA Europa League
Arsenal v PSV Eindhoven @8pm - the Gunners started their Europa League campaign with a 2-0 win at FC Zurich just as news about the Queen's death was breaking. With their weekend game against Everton being called off, they go straight back into European competition with this one. PSV began with a draw against Bodo/Glimt and are in the top four in the Netherlands. Tickets are for members only MATCH OFF

Friday 9 September

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion @730pm - with the opening weekend of the new WSL season postponed by the Queen's death, this will now be the first game of the campaign. Being played at Boreham Wood's ground, this match has already sold out

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Redbridge @745pm - the Woods welcome what could be the leaders come Friday night. A win for the hosts could see them push well into the top five themselves


Saturday 17 September

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City @530pm - at the time of writing there is still some doubt as to whether this match or any involving pro clubs will take place because of a possible lack of police resources ahead of the Queen's funeral. If it does, Spurs will start as strong favourites because the Foxes have had a nightmare start and are bottom with no wins from six games. Tickets are not available to non-members

Millwall v Blackpool @3pm - at the time of writing, both sides are locked in midtable just a point apart. The Lions have won their last four against the Lancashire club at The Den and should start as marginal favourites here. Tickets
QPR v Stoke City @3pm - if the R's beat Millwall in midweek then they could well find themselves back in the top six coming into this. The Potters are another club to have disappointed in the opening weeks of the season and are already onto a new manager after Alex Neil replaced Michael O'Neill. Tickets
Watford v Sunderland @3pm - arguably the best of the options in the second tier is between these two who are currently in the top eight. The Mackems haven't won at Vicarage Road since 1999 but then they've only played there four times since. Tickets

League Two
Leyton Orient v Walsall @3pm - the O's have had a dream start to the season and sit three points clear at the top with an unbeaten record. Walsall are down in 13th and haven't won at Brisbane Road on their last 10 visits - that should become 11 on Saturday. Also, the women's team will be playing Luton Town Reserves at 6pm and fans aare invited to stay on.  Tickets
Sutton United v Hartlepool United @3pm - the U's haven't started quite as well as last year but they're still just a point off the play-offs after seven games. Hartlepool need to improve their form or they could be heading back to non-league football. Tickets 

Premier League 2
As it stands there are three U21 games in the London area on Saturday with Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur all hosting games at various grounds. Check all the details on the day to make sure they're still happening

National League
Bromley v Maidstone United @3pm - the pick of the action in the fifth tier is this game between two Kent clubs. Maidstone should bring a significant following for what is effectively a derby

FA Cup Second Round Qualifying
The next round of the FA Cup hits London this weekend and there are a number of really decent ties, here's my selection of what I believe are the best ones:

Dartford v Beckenham Town @3pm - the Darts play two levels above the Becks and should, on paper, start as favourites. However, they're not in great form and Beckenham are. If the tie was being played at Eden Park Avenue, then I'd really fancy the underdogs' chances but we'll see...
Dulwich Hamlet v Margate @3pm - after many lean years in the FA Cup, the Hamlet finally made it to the First Round in 2019. The following year they made it to the Fourth Qualifying Round but last year they got dumped out by eighth tier Bedfont Sports in one of the shocks of the round. Margate should be a tougher proposition than Bedfont and might fancy their chances given Dulwich's poor form
Welling United v Fisher @3pm - there's another south-east London derby at Park View Road. Fisher play three levels below the Wings and are in poor form in the league but they keep upsetting teams in the cup - surely this is one match too far for them but this competition causes strange things to happen
Hendon v Wingate & Finchley @3pm - there's also a derby on the north side of town between two far more even sides from parallel seventh tier divisions. The Greens have a proud FA Cup history but Wingate have never made the First Round. Will this be their year?
Walton & Hersham v Chatham Town @1245pm - I really like the look of this one between two teams who both won promotion to the eighth tier last season and have both begun really well - they are fourth in their respective divisions. The Swans have got some good crowds in the FA Cup over the last year and I expect another strong showing here


Sunday 18 September

Premier League
Brentford v Arsenal @12pm - when these sides met at the start of last season, the Bees humiliated the Gunners but this time it should be different, at least much closer. Mikel Arteta's side are top but their defeat to Manchester United, a side Brentford thrashed, shows they have weaknesses. In the compact GTech Community Stadium, we could have quite a game on our hands. Tickets are not available to non-members
Chelsea v Liverpool @430pm - straight after this, three or so miles to the east, we've got this even bigger game between two of the country's giants. Despite their huge reputations, neither have started well with their sixth and seventh places well below expectations. Last season, the clubs played four times and all ended in draws with penalties required on the two occasions they met in cup competitions. Given their current form, a draw looks likely again. Tickets are not available MATCH OFF

FA Women's Super League
West Ham United v Everton @3pm - with the WSL start delayed by a week, this match at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground is the best on offer in the capital. The Hammers finished sixth last season and will do well to break into the elite group of teams that dominate the league. Adult tickets start at a rather pricey £13

FA Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Southampton @1230pm - it's a big day below the Super League as several teams play their matches at their main stadiums. Palace are top of the Championship after two games and welcome the Saints to Selhurst Park for this one. Adult tickets are £10
Charlton Athletic v Birmingham City @2pm - if you've been to Selhurst Park before, why not try out The Valley instead where the Addicks' women take on the Blues who've just come down from the Super League. Adult tickets are £10

FA Women's National League Division 1 SE
AFC Wimbledon v Actonians @2pm - in the fourth tier, the Dons welcome Actonians to Plough Lane and this is very much where I intend to be, having not watched a match here before. Adult tickets are £5
QPR v Norwich City @2pm - finally, not to be left out, the R's are also opening Loftus Road to their women's side. This match ended 2-1 to the hosts when they met here last season. Adult tickets are also £5

If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

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